When traveling, we see a lot of bad. What matters is what we do with these experiences. My new moto is: “I can’t go back from what I’ve seen.” Once you’ve seen certain things you have a sense of responsibility to make a difference.
For example, when I was in Nepal I saw children living in shacks along a river fully contaminated by trash flowing onto the shoreline. In America we take 30 minute hot showers with no care in the world, there they only have electricity for a few hours a day and you only get a warm shower if the sun is out.
In Morocco there were children as young as 3 or 4 out begging to make a living for their family instead of going to school.
In Bangkok, Thailand there are families with children living in shacks underneath highways. Some people spend their whole lives working as maids. I was working as an Au Pair in Bangkok. I’ll never ever forget when we were visiting a friend of theirs who was well off. We had just finished dinner and I went into the kitchen. I peaked around the corner and there were a few girls as young as 10 all huddled around a little tv on the floor next to all of the shoes. I thought to myself, that could be my sister.
Unfortunately people in more developed countries have no idea how well-off they truly are. According to World Food Day, 30-40% of food in the US is wasted. Moderating the amount of food you buy and planning out your meals can prevent some of this waste.
When I see these contrasts in living standards I ask myself, “How can I make an impact?”
I believe that through travel education, we can become aware of what’s going on in the world. Not by watching the news, but by experiencing it in person. There’s nothing like hearing people’s stories and being one to help change it.
Following certain career paths can give you the necessary skills to bring change. Becoming a doctor to serve the sick, becoming an economist to help a broken government rebuild, becoming a politician to heal corruption. You may be able to make a bigger impact with an education.
Whether you have a degree or not, you can still help. Even speaking English is a valuable skill. Teaching English to children widens their future opportunities. You can use websites like WWOOF or Helpx to find volunteer opportunities. Serving people not only gives you a feeling of satisfaction but builds upon your skills and experience.
Are you living your life only for your own happiness? Are you doing something to impact the lives of people? What are you contributing to the world?